Nursing Mama cats are often very generous in feeding and caring for newborns.  They have even been known to nurse baby bunnies and squirrels.  If you have an orphan kitten or several, it is a good idea to transfer some of the smell of Mama’s own kittens to the little ones by rubbing them with the litter’s blanket or establishing direct contact between the kittens.  If you slowly introduce the orphan(s) to Mom and they smell like her own, she will likely let them nurse and care for them.  This is better all around as some of Mama cat’s immunity is transferred to the new kittens and she takes care of cleaning them regularly.  They are content to cuddle next to Mom and can be socialized with her own kittens.  Remember, nursing Moms only have 8 nipples and not all of those may produce milk.  It is best not to overwhelm the Mama cat with too many kittens although we recently had a wonderful rescue Mom who nursed and cared for 9 babies (4 orphans) with only 7 nipples producing milk.  In this case, our shelter staff at St. Francis Animal rescue made sure that all the kittens received a bottle supplement feeding twice a day.  But, there is nothing like the TLC a Mamma cat can provide.cropped-freecat.jpg